Finding north with a watch.

Templar

F. C. Selous DSO
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Watch/Sun Method

An ordinary analog watch (with hands) can be used to determine the approximate true north in the North and South Temperate Zones. The North Temperate Zone is north of the equator and the South Temperate Zone is south of the equator. The temperate zones extend from latitude 23-1/2 degrees to 66-1/2 degrees in both hemispheres. In the North Temperate Zone only, the hour hand is pointed toward the sun. A north-south line can be found midway between the hour hand and 12 o'clock. This applies to standard time. For daylight savings time, the north-south line is found midway between the hour hand and 1 o'clock. If there is any doubt as to which end of the line is north, remember that the sun is in the north, and remember that the sun is in the eastern part of the sky before noon and in the western part in the afternoon.

The watch may also be used to determine direction in the South Temperate Zone. However, it is used a bit differently. Twelve o'clock is pointed toward the sun, and the north-south line will be halfway between 12 o'clock and the hour hand. If on daylight savings time, the north-south line lies midway between the hour hand and 1 o'clock.

On cloudy days, place a stick at the center of the watch and hold it so that the shadow of the stick falls along the hour hand in the North Temperate Zone. In the South Temperate Zone, the shadow falls along a line from the center of the watch through 12 o'clock. Direction is then determined using the appropriate technique.
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